There is no denying that SEO marketing can be a high return investment for a business because so many people are turning to Google when searching for a specific product or service, nearby store, or place to eat. However, SEO marketing can be rather complex and it takes a deep knowledge of good SEO strategies as well as the best practices suggested by Google to implement an effective internet marketing campaign. For many businesses, it is simply not cost effective to commit staff and resources to learning the intricacies of SEO and constantly maintaining their website to sustain rankings and web position. Therefore, many companies opt to hire an internet marketing agency to provide SEO services. An SEO service provider and Google Partner like Proceed Innovative has the experience and knowledge of the best SEO practices as recommended by Google to help businesses improve their online presence and ROI of their website.
Hiring an SEO service provider should not be taken lightly because the agency will be integral to your success. You should be able to trust that any SEO marketing agency that you hire will take the time to understand your business and provide suggestions that will improve your bottom line based on a successful internet marketing campaign that achieves your desired goals. In short, you want an SEO service provider that is passionate about your success as a business and not just worried about boosting the rankings of your website. Google recently put out a video called “How to Hire an SEO” in which Maile Ohye, the Developer Programs Tech Lead, describes several steps that companies should go through when hiring an SEO service provider. This blog will discuss each of the main steps of the SEO hiring process that you can follow when hiring an SEO service provider for your company.
SEO Does NOT Improve Overnight
Before delving into the steps for hiring an SEO agency, it is important to discuss the first point of this video; SEO improvements do not happen overnight. Nor do they happen in the first several days or weeks of implementing an SEO strategy. According to Maile, “In most cases, SEOs need 4 months to a year to help your business first implement improvements and then see potential benefit.”
There is no quick fix or magic formula for improving your website rankings as good SEO strategies require knowledge and foresight of the business as well as an understanding of the company’s marketing goals. Good internet marketing agencies take the time to understand these aspects of your business so they can implement relevant SEO strategies, and many of these changes take time before they affect the search traffic and rankings of your website. You must beware of so-called SEO agencies that claim that they can help you improve the search traffic and rankings of your website quickly for a low price of $199 or even $99. This is like being sold a cheap vacation without any discussion with the travel agent of where you want to go or what you want to do. Not only is it unreasonable to believe that your rankings and search traffic can improve in such a short amount of time, but it is also impossible for these companies to propose solid SEO strategies without first talking to you about your business and marketing goals. Make sure you find a reputable SEO service provider, not one promising a quick fix.
Find a Google Partner that Adheres to Google Best Practices
SEO strategies have changed drastically over the years as Google continues to change its algorithms in hopes of discouraging what it deems to be questionable or immoral tactics. Using “black hat” SEO strategies or practices that do not adhere to the best practices as defined by Google can get your website penalized or even blacklisted. Quality SEO marketing agencies fully understand Google’s guidelines and best practices and will always work within these best practices to help improve your rankings and website traffic. SEO service providers that meet certain requirements from Google qualify for Google Partner status. As a certified Google Partner, you can trust Proceed Innovative to always adhere to Google best practices and stay up to date on new algorithm changes that affect SEO strategies.
Schedule an Interview
Before hiring any internet marketing agency, an interview with the company is a must. As mentioned earlier, implementing good SEO strategies requires the SEO agency to understand the nature of your business and your marketing goals to generally help your business succeed instead of just focusing on improved search engine rankings. It is suggested in the video that companies should use their interview with an SEO agency as a two-way interview to see if the agency takes a genuine interest in their business. A good SEO service provider will want to know about your customers, your current marketing strategies, your competition, and how your business makes a profit. Maile emphasizes the difficulty of providing quality SEO services without an understanding of these principles and warns that, “If the SEO doesn’t seem interested in learning about your business from a holistic standpoint, look elsewhere.”
Check Current Clients for References
An SEO service provider may ask the right questions and provide the right answers during an interview, but it can still be difficult to gauge how the agency works with their clients by the interview alone. You must work closely with an SEO service provider to achieve your goals which makes it very important to know that you can work well with their staff. Asking the current clients of a prospective SEO agency for a reference is a great way to gauge how well they work with people and the effectiveness of their strategies. It is also important for an SEO service provider to educate you on the basic principles of SEO so that you can incorporate these principles into other areas of your business. As Maile states, “A good SEO should feel like someone you can work with, learn from, experiment with, and who genuinely cares about you and your business, not just getting your site the highest rank.”
Request SEO Analysis and Search Audit
If you are satisfied with your interview with the prospective SEO service provider and the references from current clients, you can proceed with the next step. Google suggests asking the SEO agency to do an SEO analysis and search audit on your website and come up with a list of issues as well as suggestions to resolve the issues. Give the SEO agency access to the restricted view of the back end of your website and analytics data so that they can analyze the data without making any changes. If your company is considering several SEO service providers and has a big enough budget, you can ask each of them to provide an audit.
When performing SEO analysis, agencies generally check the linking of your website, URL parameters, response codes, and connectivity to the server. According to Google, an agency should provide you with high-level strategies and proven processes, an estimate of the cost, the expected impact the changes will make, and a plan on how to implement their suggested changes. Most SEO agencies work with their clients on an annual basis commitment with monthly investments.
A search audit is a review of search queries and keywords used on your website and by users searching for related products and services. The keywords are often broken down into two categories; branded keywords and unbranded keywords. Branded keywords are words and phrases that include your company name, brand, or products and services unique to your brand. An SEO service provider will make sure that your branded keywords are used effectively throughout your website so that users who are familiar with your brand will be able to navigate the site easily and find what they are looking for. Unbranded keywords are generic terms related to your products and services. An SEO agency will do a general audit of unbranded keywords to determine the best keywords that your business should rank for as well as what keywords your competitors used to achieve their rankings. Good SEO agencies will make suggestions such as content updates and internal link improvements to help improve keyword use.
When it comes to providing SEO analysis and search audits, Google reminds us that, “A good SEO will try to prioritize what ideas can bring your business the most improvement for the least investment, and what improvements might take more time, but help growth in the long term.” Proceed Innovative provides competitor and website analysis for new and prospective clients to determine where your company currently sits with your website in relation to your competition, and what can be done to improve your online visibility and position among your competitors. We will identify opportunities to move past your competitors in the rankings and present strategies to achieve this with your budget in mind.
Buy into the SEO Services
Working with an SEO service provider should be viewed as a partnership in which both partners must do their share of the work to be successful. SEO agencies are basically an extension of your marketing department which means that their work must complement your work and that you must help the agency to implement the SEO marketing plan. Maile closes out this Google video by emphasizing the importance of a company “buying into” their SEO services, “One of the biggest hold ups to improving a website isn’t [the SEO’s] recommendations, but it’s the business making time to implement their ideas.”
- SEO Isn’t Magic.
- SEO Suggestions Should Align With Google Best Practices.
- Good SEO Means Good User Experience.
- Quality SEOs Will be Genuinely Invested in Your Business.
- Check References When Hiring an SEO.
- Request a Technical and Search Audit.
- Successful SEO Requires Buy-in From You the Client.
Making changes to your website can be especially slow if your company must go back and forth between one agency in charge of maintaining the website and a different agency handling the SEO. Choosing an SEO company that has the capability to maintain and make changes to your website in addition to providing SEO services can save you a lot of time.
If you are looking for a quality SEO service provider to help your company improve its online presence and brand awareness, Proceed Innovative provides a range of SEO services including web design, PPC management, and mobile SEO. We are a certified Google Partner that uses proven strategies to help you grow your business online and we are committed to helping you successfully reach your marketing goals. Contact us at (800) 933-2402 or submit an online form for free competitor and website analysis to get started.